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Dirty Dozen top sports liars [A-Rod is 3rd]

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  August 7, 2013 08:30 PM

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It's been a big week for scoundrels in sports.

Tiger Woods is a solid favorite at the PGA Championship coming off last weekend's win. Riley Cooper is practicing with the Eagles - and Patriots. Aaron Hernandez got another letter out via TMZ.

And Alex Rodriguez is back with the Yankees. He'll be back in the Bronx when the Yankees come home Friday. While A-Rod was lustily booed in Chicago [save for the cheers he got when he was plunked by Chris Sale], his reaction in New York may depend on how well he plays before he gets there.

A-Rod is playing hardball denial. The Yankees and their fans are playing "wait and see" on how to deal with A-Rod. But as long as he's in the lineup, they'll be benefit with a spike in ticket sales and a surge in TV ratings. The New York tabloids continue to target A-Rod with a venom usually reserved for Woods and Anthony Weiner.

Thanks to his firm denial of reality and his deft usage of the "Hispanic" card during his nonsensical press conference Monday, A-Rod has managed to find some sympathizers and he'll pick up more as this saga continues.

A-Rod has taken a page out of the Roger Clemens playbook. "Deny, deny, deny and hire Rusty Hardin." Well he hasn't hired Hardin, yet.

Clemens was acquitted last year on charges that he lied to Congress but still faces a defamation lawsuit filed by his main accuser, Brian McNamee.

Clemens has yet to admit ever using any PEDs and whether or not you consider him to be a liar depends on whether or not you believe McNamee's story, especially after Andy Pettitte's wishy-washy testimony.

What people believe vs. the truth according to Clemens remains the issue with him. His chances of getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame right now appear to be as good as mine, or A-Rod's. His denials may shield him from inclusion on this list of liars, but it will also keep him from getting credit for the baseball career he earned naturally before he [allegedly] tried to defy age and injury.

Anyone who watched him pitch for the Red Sox saw just how good he really was.

A-Rod's already been caught lying about his use of PEDs. When asked in 2007 if he had ever used steroids, human growth hormone or any performance-enhancing substance, he said "no." He confessed to Commissioner Gammons on ESPN in a 2009 interview.

"I was young, I was stupid, I was naive and I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth, you know, being one of the greatest players of all time. And I did take a banned substance. For that, I'm very sorry and deeply regretful," he said.

A-Rod's spot on any list of all-time top sports liars was secured long before this week. His return to baseball gives us an opening to offer our latest "Dirty Dozen" top liars in sports.

This list is 100 percent subjective and is by no means comprehensive, since the internet still has a finite amount of space.

We'll limit this list to just the liars. We'll have to skip the cheating - see point shaving, "SpyGate," the 1919 Black Sox, the Nevin Shapiro/University of Miami cash payoffs, every recruiting scandal ever. And all those accused, confessed or acquitted killers like Rae Carruth, Jovan Belcher, O.J., Ray Lewis and Hernandez for this exercise.

Feel free to add your favorites:

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[13? Yeah, we said "Dirty Dozen." But when you're talking about liars, one tends to stretch the truth.]

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13. Thumbnail image for BobbvV.jpgBobby Valentine: His entire tenure with the Red Sox was based on these general ideas - which turned out to be false - that he'd help the team succeed on the field, handle the players better than Terry Francona and help the Red Sox win back the faithful. Strike one, two and three. 93 losses later, he was out. While his claim that he invented the wrap sandwich remains hotly debated across the internet, he was caught in one whopper that helped secure his spot on this list.

In 1999, the then New York Mets manager was suspended for two games and fined $5,000 by the NL for returning to the dugout in a disguise after being ejected.

"The picture looked like I was in the dugout, but they got it all wrong," Valentine said. "I absolutely was never in the dugout," Valentine insisted.

The photo evidence begs to differ. Unless that guy with the glasses is Carlos Danger.

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12. Rosie Ruiz: She created a new part of the lexicon after skipping a sizable chunk of the Boston Marathon back in 1980. When she "won" the race, her time was the third fastest ever run by a woman, but no one had remembered seeing the 26-year-old New Yorker at several of the race's key checkpoints. Turns out she slipped on to the course on Commonwealth Avenue near BU. She lied by standing with Bill Rodgers when they photographed the men's and women's champions.

Thanks to a couple of guys from Harvard, she was eventually ratted out and had her place in history infamously secured.

And anytime one of your friends or family members over the age of 40 accuses you of pulling a "Rosie Ruiz" when doing chores, running errands or working out, you'll know where that came from.

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11. Marion Jones: Her story was one that was stuffed down the faces of sports fans in the name of political correctness before, during and after the 2000 Olympics. While our eyes looked at her unnaturally toned, bulked-up and sculpted body, our ears where full of stories about how she was indeed the real deal.

With powerful forces behind her [see Nike ad above], Jones continued to deny all the accusations around her PED use [see A-Rod] for several years. She parsed words better than Bill Clinton in denial this clip from 2006 where she says emphatically "she never failed a test."

Back in 2004, she issued another flat denial of the truth, saying: "The truth is my friend; transparency is my ally. I have never ever taken performance enhancing drugs."

With friends like that, you don't need enemies. She eventually admitted to lying to federal officials during their BALCO investigation, and to the world in general about failing multiple tests, went to prison in 2008 for six months and had to forfeit her five Olympic medals.

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(Note the appearance of former Globe sports editor Vince Doria [now a major honcho at ESPN] in this clip.)

10. Brett Favre: Before he went Anthony Weiner with his cellphone during his year with Jets, Favre retired. He then retired again - and again. While un-retiring isn't a crime in sports and Favre's lies were relatively harmless, the way Favre handled his departures deserves special consideration because he was so damn annoying.

He's given several retirement speeches. In 2008, when leaving the Packers, he said this"I promise you I won'y be one of those guys who says that and then retired and then shows up with someone else."

Of course, he never said he wouldn't do it twice.

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(Clip from his 2010 retirement, not his 2009 retirement)

9. Urban Meyer: He would have made this list even if Aaron Hernandez wasn't in jail on murder charges right now. Meyer quit coaching at Florida after a "health scare" in order to "spend more time with family" in 2010. Two months later, he took a job at ESPN. Ten months after starting at ESPN, he was named the coach at Ohio State.

While he was at Florida, Meyer kept what was termed a "Circle of Trust" where key players on the team were entrusted to deal with issues that would otherwise make the program look back if they got out. "That didn't happen," Meyer said. Turns out it actually did.

But beyond Meyer's contortion and distortions of the English language, it was the fact that he built a two-time national championship program while ending with 31 players arrested in a five-year tenure that's biggest lie, given the lofty goals in the school's official athletic department statement.

Among those not arrested while being coached by Meyer - Tim Tebow and Hernandez.

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8. Lance Armstrong: Before his untimely demise during a South Florida home invasion back in 1983, Tony Montana said: "I tell the truth, even when I lie." In Armstrong's case, it was the exact opposite. Even when he confessed all to Oprah in January, he barely admitted any wrong-doing.

Like many serial liars, Armstrong destroyed countless lives during his rampage of drug denials and had his supporters until the all-too-bitter end. Even now, there are some cyclists who believe he should have his seven "Tour De Farce" titles reinstated because of prevalent doping throughout cycling.

He'd rank higher/lower on this list, but no one cares about what he does anymore, which for him is the best punishment possible.

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7. Ryan Braun: He had everyone fooled, just ask Aaron Rodgers. Braun became the first player connected to the South Florida-based Biogenesis clinic to be suspended, benched for the remainder of the season on July 22.

While Braun burned many athletes and others who believed in him, he destroyed the life of the person who collected baseball's testing samples.

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6. Pete Rose - The should-be-Hall of Famer has the most base hits in major-league baseball history. But, he broke baseball's original sin [after 50 years of segregation, that is] and bet on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds. In 1989, when reports spread of his wagering on varies activities surfaced, he infamously said: "I never bet on baseball."

His first public confession game in a 2004 issue of Sports Illustrated. "I did (bet on baseball). That was my mistake for not coming clean a lot earlier. ... I'm 14 years late." So far, that hasn't been good enough for baseball.

Meanwhile, A-Rod continues to play in the face of a 211-game suspension for PED usage. But at least he never took the Angels +165 at Cleveland.

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5. Rafael Palmeiro/Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa: Seven of the 10 ballplayers who have surpassed the 500-home run plateau since Eddie Murray in 1996 have been publicly linked to PED use either through positive tests, confessions or the Mitchell Report.

Three of those players, Palmerio, Sosa and McGwire, all took the high ground during their testimony in front of Congress in March of 2005.

During that testimony, Palmeiro emphatically wagged his finger when he said in March of 2005: "I have never used steroids." Later in 2005, he was suspended for a positive steroid test.

In 1998, during his 70-home-run season, McGwire said. "Everything I've done is natural. Everybody that I know in the game of baseball uses the same stuff I use." During the 2005 hearing, McGwire said: "I'm not here to talk about the past."

Although he speaks fluent English, Sosa testified in Spanish, saying through a translator he never used PEDs, despite the fact that he had tested positive for a PED during a 2003 pilot testing program.

McGwire's confession that he used roids in 1998 didn't come until 2010: "It's something I'm certainly not proud of. I'm certainly sorry for having done it. The only reason I took steroids was for health purposes."

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4. Barry Bonds Baseball's all-time home run king broke Hank Aaron's all-time record six years ago Wednesday. Watch it above and re-live the chills and thrills. Bonds gets a special place thanks to his role in the BALCO case, when he repeatedly liked about his association with the lab. Bonds testified before a grand jury in 2003 that he received and used "cream" and "clear" substances from his trainer but believed he was taking flax seed oil and arthritis cream.

While both Bonds and Clemens have done a masterful job at revising or recreating history, they haven't been able to outrun it. Neither got more than 38 percent of the vote in 2013 Hall of Fame balloting, their first year of eligibility.

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3. Alex Rodriguez: See above.

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2. Anyone who ever said: "It isn't about the money." Here's a flash, it's always about the money. Just ask A-Rod, who would lose $34 million over the course of a 211-game suspension.

Angels pitcher and all-around renaissance man C.J. Wilson nailed it. "The issue centers around greed," he told the LA Times."If anybody says it's something else, they're not telling the truth. The players want to do well because they want to get bigger contracts. That money they earn is tainted, just like their statistics are."

Amen.

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1. Joe Paterno: His pal Jerry Sandusky molested young boys for a period of at least 10 years, while serving as an assistant at Penn State and then running a youth program associated with the school. He was convicted on 45 out of 48 counts of sexual abuse in 2012 and the school has paid out more than $60 million in settlements to his victims.

But it wasn't Sandusky who told the biggest lies surrounding the worst scandal in the history of American sports this side of segregation.

That prize belongs to Paterno, who, according to the 267-page Freeh Report, lied to a grand jury about his knowledge of a 1998 assault of a young boy [Victim 6] by Sandusky in a shower at the team's football facility.

Joe Pa's silence in the years after first learning of these crimes was equally appalling. He maintained the facade of a loving, father figure for millions, all the while knowing what his top assistant had done while allowing him continued access to the team's facilities with children. Paterno was "an integral part of this active decision to conceal."

Former university president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz were all ordered Tuesday to stand trial for their alleged role in the cover-up.

See you in hell, fellas.

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Dishonorable Mention: Tiger Woods [he only lied to his wife]; Every football coach, GM, team president and agent ever; Sprinter Ben Johnson - "I have never, ever knowingly taken illegal drugs." [1988]; College football signee Kevin Hart - "I'm sure it won't hit me until I hit the practice field and I get welcomed to the Pac-10." [2008] Hart claimed he signed with Cal despite never having an offer; Little League pitcher Danny Almonte - who knows how old this kid was; Cyclist Floyd Landis - "No, come on, man," when asked if he doped to win the 2006 Tour de Farce. He finally came clean in 2010; QB and dog lover Michael Vick - "I look forward to clearing my good name. I respectfully ask all of you to hold your judgment until all of the facts are shown," he said after his arrest in 2007.

In Vick's defense, not only did he plead guilty, he served his time and has worked his way back to the NFL. Serving one's time. That's a novel concept indeed.


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